Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols has slugged his way into elite company.
With his 2-run, go-ahead homer during Sunday’s game against the Rockies, Pujols tied Hall of Famer Willie Mays for fifth place on the all-time home run list.
Mays hit 660 career home runs over 22 seasons with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets. Pujols reached 660 in his 20th MLB season. Pujols hit the first 445 home runs of his career during his 11 seasons in St. Louis. In nine seasons with the Angels, Pujols has now hit 215 home runs.
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) September 13, 2020
Pujols, 40, trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696) on the all-time home run list. He’s also 16th on the all-time runs scored list with 1,837.
The milestone home run ended a long drought for Pujols. His last home run was hit Aug. 4 against the Seattle Mariners (86 at-bats ago, as of Sept. 12). Pujols’ longest career drought was 139 at-bats. That drought ended May 6, 2012, when he hit his first home run in an Angels uniform.
Man of many milestones
Though his production has dipped in recent seasons, Pujols has still managed to reach several notable milestones.
In 2017, he became the ninth player to hit 600 career home runs when he launched a dramatic grand slam at Angel Stadium. In 2018, he reached 3,000 career hits. Last season, he joined Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez as the only recognized players in the 2,000-RBI club.
Along the way Pujols, has also earned numerous accolades and awards. As a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols took home the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2001 and won three NL MVP awards. He’s a two-time World Series champion — winning both with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011 — and a 10-time All-Star.
Will Albert Pujols reach 700 home runs?
For much of Pujols’ career, it seemed inevitable that he would join Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth in 700-homer club. Now though, the odds are against him. His recent drought made it only more unlikely.
After averaging 40 home runs a season in St. Louis, Pujols has averaged only 26 per season with the Angels. Injuries have played a significant role in his decline. He’s missed a total of 76 games over the past two seasons.
Pujols still has one year remaining on the 10-year, $245 million contract he signed with Los Angeles following the 2011 season. If he can stay on the field, he could play another 150-160 games during this contract. That could conceivably give him time to reach 700, but he would have to get back on that 40 home run pace.
Of course, where Pujols finishes on the home-run list won’t impact his Cooperstown status. He’s already a sure-fire Hall of Famer and is arguably the greatest hitter of the century in MLB.
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